Reanaarian Cities and Nations in Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legac

We continue the regions and states of the Kalamar Setting (with some upgrades) with the Reanaarian Bay and its squabbling and fiercely free and independent city-states  (with the one we’ve invented in the advanced timeline in Blue):

The Reanaarian Bay – Order From Chaos

“Reanaarians are excellent diplomats. They let you have your way only when they know you are wrong.” – Chelean, former pirate, smuggler, and governor of U’Rudaketa

In the far East, the Reanaarian Bay stretches from the chilly northern shores down to the much-traveled open seas in the south. Protected by a continent spanning wall of high peaks, the most common way into and out of the region is by ship and around the horn. Reanaarians remained cloistered from the imperial designs of their western neighbors and formed independent and free city states all along the western bank of the Bay that served as rich sources of trade, haven, freedom, and ambition through all of the great rises and falls of the nations of the world. Continue reading

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Brandobian Nations in Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legacy

There are six major regions in the world of Kingdoms of Kalamar. Each is divided into nations, city-states, duchies, kingdoms, etc. with a real independent feel from each other. In our update and alternate timeline project updating the campaign setting to 5e rules, we’re advancing the entire world’s timeline nearly 500 years and interweaving world-changing elements from years of running the setting with love and excitement.

As we update the regions we’ll be expanding on the culture and feel of it’s constituent nations to give players and DM’s a chance to flavor their characters and NPCs even more. We’re starting small with Brandobia in the far West–and it’s five principle nations (with the one we’ve invented in the advanced timeline in Blue):

Brandobia – The Old Empire

“A true Brandobian is passionate, prideful and efficient. A more dangerous combination I do not know.” – General Alere Garnak, leader of the militocracy of Korak

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Regions of Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legacy

I used to love the old Hero Builder’s Guide in 3rd ed. and always loved random character creation tables. I liked having options and making the most of them. Even in games like Dark Heresy or A Song of Ice and Fire–the “add a new variable” part was always the most fun for me.

So, in proper tradition, by variant/alternative update to the Kingdoms of Kalamar Campaign setting includes making some adaptations of the regional feats from the old books. One of the best things about Kalamar was the feat selection really drove home how different two elves or humans could be pending where they were from.  Sometimes, the dwarf and human from one region just had more in common than the two dwarfs from two different places. The regional feats seemed to always emphasize something that’s very social or very visible. So, very few “quiet, internal” things and very many “when Appraising, this” or “is better at something clearly like this” sorts of things.

So, here’s my Variant Rules that allow for some regional diversity–using Inspiration as the core mechanic (this gives you something to spend Inspiration on other than just Advantage and it may drive players to want to earn it faster, thus driving them to their Background boons and flaws and whatnot more often).

(I’ll be posting up the Regions of Kalamar over time–because each of the major six regions breaks down into interesting nations and I want to get a fresh, timeline updated paragraph for each… which will take a while) Continue reading

Languages of Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legacy

One of the best parts of KoK was the language system. Each language was one or two skills (pending how hardcore your game was)–so you bought ranks in it like you’d buy ranks in anything else with the more ranks equaling the more “fluent”. And without a “Common” to take as an option, characters would really have to think about their language selections.  Feats were available to make it easier to pick up more skill points for the purposes of language rank buying.  Parties often spread out their proficiencies to cover more ground and Comprehend Language and Tongues were damn useful for travelling adventurers.

So, in the spirit of 5e’s push for simplicity and effect, we’ve tested out the feel of a variant rule for Languages.

That starts with the new Language Fluency Levels.

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Races of Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legacy

So, I’ve discussed my love for Kalamar in a big way–I think its just the best setting ever for D&D even though Kenzer has moved on from WotC.  No doubt their d20 game is great, but as I love 5E D&D and I love Kalamar and I have seen so many great homebrew adaptations of old settings (there’s a great Dark Sun one out there), I have decided to walk through the old campaign setting and players handbooks for Kalamar and update a 5E campaign set of rules for everyone that misses the feel and flow.

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Happy Holidays

If I can take a moment, I want to encourage all of you out there–all you DM’s and players that really drive the group you’re in (you know who you are… all of you who bring drinks and snaks, host games, run them, give people rides, etc.)..

Consider, this holiday season, giving the gift of one of the core books to a group of players that could use it or a new DM who wants to get her friend’s involved.  Sometimes, especially for those young D&D fans out there, the $40 you would spend on a few extra luxuries in a month is the $40 they don’t have to spare to play with a lifetime of adventure.

For real.  Hit up some of the places where DM’s and players congregate (reddit, enworld, giantsitp, etc.) and Amazon gift someone a book.

5e_books
DMs gotta look out for each other…

Beholders – Crazy Alien Deathboxes

 

-Dark-Lord--Комиксы-854783If you don’t know what beholders are (the basics) you should read up on the Wikipedia article for them or even better the post at Power Score about them. Suffice to say, beholders are alien things from another dimension/reality that are not only an iconic D&D monster from way, way back, but also the feature monster on the cover of the 5e Monster Manual. They’re a signature character, as much a part of D&D as anything at all can possibly be.

Playing or deploying beholders in combat, RP-ing them so they pop and stand out is hard. Playing, say, gnolls or hobgoblins I found easier–as a DM. There’s a logic there that’s primitive for one and pretty classical for the other. Playing orcs or goblins is harder, but its still tribal and makes a “behavior of tribes” sense. Dragons are tricky to get right because they’re so large (in stature, I mean) that unless you go very BIG with the performance, you’re really just playing a mean person in the body of a dragon.

Beholders and aberrations or intelligent monstrosities are hard because they are–entirely–not human, not primate, not terrestrial. They are an alien mind. The Monster Manual tries to reflect this by emphasizing paranoia and arrogance, but I like my beholders to go to truly scary levels of alien. The less predictable, the better. The more the party feels like they cannot reliably relate to whatever a beholder thinks and feels the terror of what they see as irrationality (but is simply an alien rationality) the better.

So, here are my tips for playing beholders:

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